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Benefits of Public Power
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general manager all utility employees take pride in their data submitted by investor owned utilities to the federal. work because they know their customers are their family government The results consistently show that on average. friends and neighbors the payments and contributions made by public power. utilities are greater, Supporting Local Government In the most recent year for which data are available the. Public power utilities provide a direct benefit to their median amount contributed by public power utilities was. communities in the form of payments and contributions 5 6 percent of electric operating revenues Over. to state and local government The total value of the the same period investor owned utilities paid a median. contributions made by the publicly owned utilities often of 4 2 percent of electric operating revenues in taxes and. comes in many forms and is not always easily recognized fees to state and local governments. In addition to payments that resemble property taxes. payments in lieu of taxes and transfers to the general When all taxes tax equivalents and other contributions to. fund many utilities make in kind contributions in the state and local government are considered public power s. form of free or reduced cost services provided to states contributions as a percent of electric operating revenues. and cities were 33 percent higher than those of investor owned. utilities 3, The level of support and how these benefits are returned. to the community is a local decision another advantage. of local control For example some public power utilities. make transfers to the city s general fund in an amount. PUBLIC POWER S CONTRIBUTIONS TO, equal to the property taxes that would have been paid STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE. by an investor owned utility Others set the amount as a. percentage of electric revenue or as a charge per kilowatt. hour of electricity sold Some cities take advantage of. synergies between municipal departments and use electric. THAN THOSE OF, employees to install temporary lighting perform electrical INVESTOR OWNED. repairs or tree trimming services for other departments or UTILITIES. provide technical expertise,Quantifying Public Power s Financial Support.
Public power utilities make greater financial contributions. to state and local governments than investor owned. American Public Power Association Public Power Pays Back. The American Public Power Association regularly Payments and Contributions by Public Power Utilities to. analyzes payments and contributions to state and local State and Local Governments in 2014 March 2016. government based on surveys of public power utilities and. In the 1970s when Massena residents sought to break away from Niagara Mohawk the power company. tossed out a trio of regular arguments against the plan If the town stopped buying electricity from Niagara Mohawk. it would lose substantial tax revenues electric rates would skyrocket and reliability would go in the tank. None of that happened in the utility s first quarter century of existence The municipally owned electric utility makes. annual payments in lieu of taxes and the town lost no revenue Electric rates have gone down and reliability is up. New York Anniversaries Public Power magazine November December 2006. The article describes Massena s 25 year anniversary as a public power utility. PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY 13,In Kind Contributions Efficient Operations. Beyond direct financial contributions public power utilities Public power utilities keep costs down through local. may support their local government and community in scrutiny of operations They use strategic partnerships and. many ways Here are a few ways public power utilities are joint action with other public power agencies to obtain. helping out the advantages of size in wholesale supply matters without. Free or discounted electricity or other services to the taking on the disadvantages of merging into larger more. local government including streetlights municipal bureaucratic institutions. buildings water or sewer treatment facilities and traffic. signals Electricity distribution as opposed to large scale generation. and high voltage transmission is local and public power. Installing temporary lighting for special events, utilities find that their smaller size can be an advantage in. Maintaining streetlights traffic signals or stadium lights electricity distribution A public power utility s headquarters. Electric repair or maintenance for other city and operations are located near the utility s customers. departments Distribution lineworkers are very familiar with the utility s. service territory and thus likely to be more responsive. Rewiring municipal buildings to outages Utility managers and customer service. Tree trimming for other departments representatives are fellow citizens Oversight is provided by. a local governing body which keeps the utility focused on. Reading water meters,reliability price and service. Putting up city signs or banners, Providing technical expertise e g engineering studies Municipal utilities can also create new efficiencies in. local government Some utility operations may overlap. Providing free building space, with other services the municipality is already providing.
Hanging banners and holiday lights when these can be combined the result is a leaner more. Sharing electric department vehicles and equipment efficient operation that benefits everyone For example. with other municipal departments a city providing multiple utility services electric water. wastewater natural gas and telecommunications services. may combine billing and metering operations and share. a 24 hour emergency call center Other examples of,efficiencies that may be achieved include. What about Integration of municipal operations, franchise fees e g shared office space for multiple city services. Private utilities may pay a franchise fees to the Shared personnel e g human resources department. local government in exchange for the right to that serves the city and utility. operate exclusively in the community However, Lower per person administrative costs for municipal. these franchise fees are almost always passed on,employee benefits. directly to the customers, Town may avoid short term borrowing costs due to cash.
Many years ago investor owned utilities began to flow from electric revenues. add the annual franchise fee they were required to. pay the city to the rates they charged their custom. ers in the community Instead of treating the franchise Local Priorities. fee as a legitimate expense a cost of doing business When the community owns the utility the community. in the community the investor owned utility simply controls the utility s priorities Decisions about pricing. incorporated its franchise fee into its rates and passed electricity building power plants purchasing wholesale. the costs along to ratepayers Consumers ended power and service policies are made locally and reflect the. up paying the investor owned utility s franchise fee values and choices of the community. instead of sharing in its profits This practice of. including the franchise fee in rates continues to this By participating in the utility governance process citizens. day in most communities 4 exercise their voice on big questions the utility may face. Renegotiating a Municipal Franchise Paul Hughes, investments in local infrastructure system maintenance. Environmental Services Inc July 2002 and upgrades,14 PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY. energy conservation and energy efficiency utility finances setting electric rates level of financial. support for the local government, energy resources renewable energy coal natural gas or. other sources, Public power utilities emphasize long term community. environmental stewardship pollution prevention goals and can direct utility resources accordingly by. investing in cleaner technologies implementing programs and timetables to achieve. customer service policies assistance to low income goals Without local utility ownership the community is. customers service extension policies disenfranchised with no input on these decisions. system aesthetics and design choosing whether to, underground electric lines for community beautification.
or enhanced reliability,Case Studies,CASE STUDIES,Public power in action. THESE CASE STUDIES SHOW HOW LOCAL CONTROL ENABLES, PUBLIC POWER UTILITIES TO ACHIEVE DIVERSE LOCAL PRIORITIES. Emerald People s Utility District Oregon Greensburg Kansas 555 customers. 20 800 customers began its life as experienced an EF 5 tornado in 2007. a public power utility in 1983 after that destroyed 95 percent of the town. separating from a private utility that Residents decided to start over remaking. offered poor customer service and poor Greensburg as a sustainable energy. reliability The new utility created payment efficient green community The town. assistance programs to help its customers conservation of 1 400 launched the Green in Greensburg campaign. and energy savings programs and community outreach Citizens rebuilt the community owned electric utility and. programs including participating in local festivals and used it to achieve the town s goal of meeting all energy. outreach to schools The utility has won local state and needs with renewable resources Today Greensburg. national awards for its outstanding customer service and relies on wind power the very force of nature that once. has been featured in two best selling management books devastated the town to power its future It is also home to. for excellence in customer service the most LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental. Design buildings per capita in the United States and was. the first city in the nation to install all LED streetlights. PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY 15,Waverly Iowa 5 000 customers Ownership. citizens vowed that when an accident, Public power communities receive another benefit ownership. caused 20 gallons of transformer oil, itself Ownership of the utility means local management and.
to leak into the ground it would make, control over decisions involving investments operations. sure it never happened again The utility, maintenance power supply choices and customer programs. researched and developed a brand new, soy based biodegradable transformer oil The new oil is. More than that though there are some options and choices. environmentally friendly and is an effective replacement for. available only to an owner including asset leverage equity. mineral based oil After patenting the invention Waverly. borrowing ratemaking authority and control over future. sold it to Cargill Inc Today the environmentally friendly. streams of income for the utility and the community. transformer oil developed in a small Iowa town is marketed. internationally,Los Angeles California 1 4 million. customers needed new employees to,It has everything to do with the.
support its renewable energy initiatives,philosophy of whether the city wants. The utility partnered with a local,to be sharecroppers or landowners. technical college a job training center,Do you want to own your home or rent. and a local union to develop an intense, two to four year training program The partners now offer Ken Cotton City Attorney Wagner South Dakota. more than 50 training courses open to all local residents Wagner OKs Municipal Power Press Dakotan. offering classroom computer based and on the job December 5 2007. training Program graduates enter a green jobs pipeline. getting a job at the utility and advancement opportunities. as they progress in their careers,Seattle Washington 415 000.
customers recognized a growing number, of its citizens were interested in electric Reliable Customer. vehicles but knew people were not buying,EVs due to a lack of infrastructure to. support them The utility is working with Public power utilities are highly responsive to customers. the city to install 80 charging stations on public property needs and concerns typically getting high marks for customer. and another 200 charging stations on private property satisfaction because their first and only purpose is to provide. efficient reliable service to the customers in their communities. Murfreesboro Tennessee 55 000 Reliable customer service takes three forms for public power. customers wanted to revitalize its historic utilities a focus on overall system reliability quick restoration. downtown so the Murfreesboro Electric of power after an outage and making excellent customer. Department undertook a major initiative service a priority. to move electric wiring underground,Beyond the aesthetic improvements. the project facilitated repair of broken and impassable Reliability. sidewalks and restoration of crosswalks lamp posts and Public power utilities have a strong record of focusing on core. storefronts reestablishing the downtown as the charming electric operations and delivering a reliable power supply. heart of the community Because of their connection to customers public power utilities. Chattanooga Tennessee 174 000 are motivated to maintain the community s assets to keep their. customers wanted to improve reliability local electric system operating continuously and efficiently. and laid fiber optic cables throughout Maintaining the highest caliber of electric service is one of the. the service territory to take advantage of core facets of a public power utility s business model. emerging smart grid technology When, city officials realized they could also use Reliability from a systems engineering perspective is the. the fiber to offer TV telephone and internet service to their ability of an electric system to perform its functions under. customers it was like striking oil Now the city operates normal and extreme circumstances In the United States a. one of the largest and most powerful fiber to the home typical customer expects to have power at all times In reality. networks in the United States offering the first gigabit every utility experiences some power outages not only due. internet speeds in the country,16 PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY.
to severe weather and major events but also due to wildlife Accountability promotes reliability. vegetation equipment failures or even a car crashing into. Public power utilities make business decisions every day that. a utility pole Realistically a utility is able to make power. result in reliable electric service The elected officials who. available between 99 9 and 99 999 percent of the time. oversee public power utilities are accountable to voters who are. also the utilities ratepayers In contrast board members of an. There are many ways that electric utilities measure their. investor owned utility are accountable to shareholders they are. reliability One of the most common is the System Average. judged not on their ability to provide low cost reliable power. Interruptible Duration Index SAIDI which measures the. or excellent service but on their ability to maximize profits for. average length of time in minutes that each customer of a. the investor owned utility or its holding company and to pay a. utility was without power during a year,quarterly dividend to shareholders. Recent data show that public power utilities demonstrate. In pursuit of short term profits investor owned utilities. higher reliability than the national average, may implement cost cutting measures that ultimately affect. reliability For example extensive reductions in the number of. SAIDI employees maintenance expenses or tree trimming programs. can result in longer and more frequent outages This issue. was highlighted in 2011 when Connecticut Light Power. Outage duration Public Power5 National average6 experienced extensive outages after two storms In an article. about the outages The New York Times reported that the. Average 58 49 minutes 143 1 minutes utility had cut its maintenance spending by 26 percent between. Median 40 40 minutes 125 6 minutes 2008 and 2010 7. Maximum 552 84 minutes 1 015 1 minutes,Outage Restoration. The data show that without including major events such as. Many public power utilities have outage prevention programs. hurricanes or winter ice storms the average electric customer. the most common of which are tree trimming services Other. in the United States is without power for just over 2 hours and. outage prevention programs include wildlife management. 20 minutes each year Public power customers on average. animal squirrel guards routine inspection and maintenance. experienced less than one hour without power, of distribution lines other vegetation maintenance. thermographic circuit inspections lightning arresters. reviewing poor performing circuits and converting overhead. PUBLIC POWER CUSTOMERS ON AVERAGE EXPERIENCE wires to underground. LESS THAN ONE HOUR WITHOUT POWER PER YEAR, When an outage occurs public power utilities restore power.
quickly because they are located in the community Repair. crews live in the community and have a vested interest in. getting service restored quickly They are not only accountable. to local officials but to their friends neighbors and families. Living in the community also means they can get to the site of. the outage faster they do not have to drive long distances to. start repairing damage,LESS THAN HALF OF THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. Public power numbers from 2012 calendar year Major events are not excluded Source Evaluation of Data Submitted. in APPA s 2013 Distribution System Reliability Operations Survey American Public Power Association March 2014. The National average includes the 13 year average for more than 100 electric utilities the most recent data year included was 2012. This data does not include outages that would be considered major events The sample set included in the study comprised. 145 investor owned utilities 75 of all IOUs 30 public power utilities 1 of all public power and 16 rural electric cooperatives. 3 of all cooperatives Source Assessing Changes in the Reliability of the U S Electric Power System. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory August 2015, The Troubling Connecticut Power Failure Rob Cox The New York Times November 3 2011. PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY 17, Local crews are intimately familiar with the local electric as far away as California to help rebuild the electric. distribution system and can identify and correct problems system in the mid Atlantic area Utility workers from the. quickly If they know a storm is coming they can step up Midwest and South drove to storm ravaged areas in their. preventative measures such as removing overhanging or loose bucket trucks while those from the West flew by military. branches and checking known problem spots transport aircraft and charter planes Helpers from. 20 states spent weeks working long hours and often. As an entity of the local government public power utilities also sleeping in their trucks to help rebuild devastated. benefit by coordinating responses with other local emergency communities 8. Crews from Naperville Peru and Springfield Illinois. helped the Winnetka public power utility after severe. thunderstorms knocked down utility poles and trees in. 2011 Winnetka s service was restored in 12 hours while. One big bonus of a city owned system, nearby communities went without power for as long as. Knight said is that it can focus all its,four days 9.
resources police emergency teams tree, trimmers and line crews on making repairs The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities helped. in the city without waiting for a big power coordinate the response to the tornado destruction of. company to coordinate all their repair efforts electric and gas services in Mapleton Iowa By mid day. It was like clockwork during the last hurricane on the day after the tornado hit nearly 30 electric and. gas operators were helping out in Mapleton Additional. Randy Knight Assistant City Manager, Winter Park Fla discussing the drop in outages after crews arrived the next day and service was fully restored. the city formed its own electric utility Energy Central within 48 hours 10. Professional December 2006, The mutual aid network among public power utilities is strong. Public power s commitment to serving communities extends. beyond its own community and utilities take pride in helping. Mutual aid one another, Just as firefighters police officers and other emergency. responders combine forces to help rebuild cities devastated Sometimes I think municipal utilities are worried that. by natural disasters lineworkers and other electric utility because of their size the investor owned utilities will suck. personnel come together in an emergency to turn the lights up all the lineworkers and munis will be in trouble but we. back on haven t found that to be the case said Mike Hyland senior. vice president of engineering for the American Public Power. In the event of a major outage public power utilities Association After Katrina there were so many municipal utility. coordinate with each other for assistance through a broad crews volunteering to head down to Louisiana that some had to. network of mutual aid programs Public power crews be turned away It s a really strong network and I think there s. have responded to calls for assistance in response to all loyalty there and a kind of brotherhood he said 11. sorts of disasters hurricanes tornados ice storms severe. thunderstorms and high winds And mutual aid is provided not only to fellow public power. utilities The Indiana Municipal Electric Association IMEA. Public power mutual aid examples include responded to a call for assistance from the investor owned. utility Baltimore Gas Electric BG E after Hurricane Irene. In October 2012 Superstorm Sandy brought hurricane. caused widespread outages in the utility s service territory. force winds heavy rains snow and flooding that knocked. IMEA sent 31 crews from eight separate public power utilities. out power in 21 states from North Carolina to Maine. to aid BG E in its recovery efforts The crews worked with. and as far west as Illinois After the storm more than. BG E to restore power for a full week 12, 160 public power utilities responded More than 1 000.
electric crews with 3 4 helpers on each crew came from. Public power utilities prepare to handle outages as hurricane season approaches Michael Hyland Public Power Chat May 28 2014. Power to the people How Winnetka beat its neighbors to restore electricity Winnetka Northfield TribLocal June 29 2011. Mapleton help Great testament to IAMU mutual aid Informer Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities April 26 2011. Mutual Aid Before the Storm Public Power March April 2007. Correspondence with Leona Draper Executive Director Indiana Municipal Electric Association. 18 PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY, Wellesley and other towns in the electric power business were beacons of light during the outages. that left thousands of homes across the western suburbs in the dark last week While Natick. Sudbury Framingham and other communities struggled with power failures that dragged on. through the week all the lights were back on in a matter of hours in Wellesley Belmont and. Concord The three towns run their own municipal electrical utilities complete with crews ready. to make repairs at a moment s notice in contrast to the majority of communities in the western. suburbs whose power is provided by the utility companies NStar and National Grid. Municipal utilities shine in storm Boston Globe on boston com September 4 2011. Customer Service bills in person discuss any questions and learn about other. utility programs Many investor owned utilities have eliminated. Since a public power utility s customers are its owners there. their walk in customer service centers as a strictly cost saving. is no conflict between the needs of customers and the needs. measure but when customer service not making a profit is the. of shareholders The utility s local accountability ensures it. goal service centers stay open, delivers excellent customer service or unsatisfied customers. can make their displeasure known at utility board or city. Energy efficiency programs are another example where public. council meetings, power s not for profit customer focused business model. shines A for profit utility is the in the business of selling. Public power utilities receive high scores in residential and. electricity to make money spending utility money to run an. business customer satisfaction in the J D Power and Associates. energy efficiency program to help customers use less electricity. annual surveys for electric utilities In 2015 Salt River Project. does not make sense when you are answering to investors and. in Phoenix Arizona ranked the highest in the large utility. stockholders But because public power utilities share their. segment in its region for the 14th consecutive year and. community s values and are accountable to customers the. Clark Public Utilities in Vancouver Washington ranked the. calculation looks different why wouldn t you want to help your. highest in the midsize utility segment in its region for an. friends and neighbors save money on their monthly utility bill. eighth consecutive year Other top finishers in their respective. categories included the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Poor service by profit seeking companies is one of the primary. Colorado Springs Utilities Seattle City Light and Tacoma. drivers behind a community s decision to consider public. power Hermiston Oregon formed a municipal utility in 2001. following a four year effort that began because the incumbent. Public power utilities also took home top honors for business. investor owned utility closed its local customer service office. customer satisfaction in four of the eight categories with. and citizens recognized that the company s service levels were. honors going to Omaha Public Power District in Nebraska. declining The new public power utility Hermiston Energy. JEA in Jacksonville Florida Salt River Project and Sacramento. Services offers lower rates and customers can now pay bills and. Municipal Utility District 14, address service concerns in person at the local office. Customers in the driver s seat Quite simply local control and public power s not for profit. business model promote outstanding customer service A. In a public power community customers drive customer. public power utility and its governing body are part of the. service the utility can tailor its programs and services to the. community and can easily maintain a close relationship with. needs and desires of its customers instead of looking only to. utility customers As a result the utility can tailor its services to. make a profit,meet the needs of its customers and the community.
For example most public power utilities have a customer. service center located in town where customers can pay their. J D Power and Associates 2015 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction. Study as described in J D Power and Associates press release July 15 2015. J D Power and Associates 2016 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study. as described in J D Power and Associates press release January 13 2016. PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY 19, Here at MED we often talk about being your hometown power provider We live here with you and. of course we want to provide the most reliable service possible because we benefit from that as. much as anyone else, But hometown power means more than that to us It also means we are always actively working. in our community to improve the lives of the people around us and contribute to the traditions that. make Murfreesboro such a great place to live, Steve Sax general manager Murfreesboro Electric Department. My Hometown Power newsletter November 2015, Affordable Prices This distinction is more pronounced when looking at rates paid. by residential customers Public power residential customers. paid an average of 11 4 cents per kilowatt hour cooperative. Across the country publicly owned electric utilities continue utility customers paid an average of 11 6 cents per kilowatt. to lead the way in providing customers with low cost energy hour and investor owned utility customers paid an average of. for homes and businesses The most recent data from the 13 cents per kilowatt hour. U S Department of Energy show that public power customers. pay less on average than do customers of investor owned That difference means residential customers in cooperative. utilities or electric cooperatives as they have year after year utility service territories paid average rates that were 1 75. since the federal government began keeping electricity rate percent higher than their public power neighbors and. statistics more than 70 years ago Public power s historically residential customers in investor owned utility service. lower rates are the result of the low cost structure central to its territories paid average rates that were 14 percent higher. business model supported by its not for profit status access to than those paid by public power customers 15. tax exempt financing higher credit ratings and its ability to. contract for low cost power supplies In recent years average rates for investor owned utility. industrial customers have been lower than those of public. Lower Rates power utilities However industrial customers vary greatly in. size and on average investor owned utilities serve significantly. On a national basis average electricity rates for all investor larger industrial customers than do public power utilities The. owned utility customers in all customer classes are 6 9 difference in customer size could account for the investor. percent higher than average rates paid by public power owned utility s lower price for industrial customers. customers Average electricity rates for all cooperative utility. customers are 3 percent higher than those paid by public 15. Public Power Costs Less American Public Power Association. 2016 Data from Energy Information Administration Form. power customers EIA 861 Annual Electric Utility Report for 2014. Rates reflect both full service bundled and retail choice. unbundled sales in utilities service territories, Average Retail Electric Rates by Customer Class 2014.
Cents per kilowatt hour,Publicly Owned,12 13 1 Investor Owned. 11 4 11 6 11 1 Cooperative,9 10 7 10 7 10 8 10 4,6 7 3 7 3 7 4. Residential Commercial Industrial Total,20 PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY. Local regulation In his comprehensive study of factors affecting. performance in the U S electric industry Professor John. Public power utilities are under more intense scrutiny. Kwoka concluded that public ownership confers both cost. than investor owned or cooperative utilities because. and price benefits He found that the most likely reason. they are governed and regulated by their customer, for public power s advantages over their privately owned. owners through locally elected and appointed officials. counterparts appears to be that retail distribution of. Governance and regulation happens at city council and. electricity and perhaps other goods and services may. utility board meetings public hearings citizen advisory. be performed better by enterprises closely rooted to the. committees and other public forums accountability is. customer community Such proximity may yield greater. ensured at the ballot box Business is conducted in the. knowledge of local customer needs and a greater sense of. open and is subject to local scrutiny,responsibility for addressing those needs 16.
Public participation in the utility s governance, Public power utilities can offer lower rates because. including decisions on rates budgets facility siting. power supply reliability and customer service is a core The utility does not pay dividends to often distant. attribute of public power If citizens feel their rates are shareholders. unreasonable they can attend public meetings held They are accountable to the customer owners they serve. in their own town to express their discontent In a few. states public power utilities rates are also regulated by Local cost consciousness and public scrutiny over. the state public service commission expenditures keep the utility s budget in check. Administrative costs are lower due to improved, While public power utilities generally are regulated efficiencies through sharing personnel equipment and. by a local governing body accountable to its citizens supplies with the local government. investor owned utilities are regulated by state and. Rates are set locally by citizen controlled boards or city. federal authorities Investor owned utility customers. councils that operate publicly, have the right to place complaints with the state public. service commission but because these customers are not There is no economic bias toward high cost capital. owners of the utility they have no direct relationship intensive technologies. to utility management and cannot participate in board They are eligible to borrow money for capital expenses. meetings using tax exempt bonds holding borrowing costs down. They consistently earn higher credit ratings from the. Regulation for rural electric cooperatives varies across. three major credit rating companies, the country they are subject to oversight from state. regulatory commissions in some but not all states In certain parts of the country they may have access to. Where they are not regulated cooperative utility lower cost hydroelectric power marketed at wholesale by. customers may find that making their voice heard is federal and state agencies. more difficult because the utility is not subject to the Joint action agencies give smaller utilities access to. same sunshine laws that govern public power utilities economies of scale in generating and purchasing power. and other services, Compared to customers of investor owned utilities and.
even rural electric cooperatives public power customers Several of these topics are covered in more depth under the. have more influence on rates service and policies benefits of Local Control. Low Cost Structure Municipal Bonds, The biggest determinant in public power s lower rates For more than 200 years state and local governments and. is its not for profit status Public power works for Main governmental entities including public power utilities. Street not Wall Street have relied on municipal bonds as a means of financing. John E Kwoka Jr George Washington University Power Structure Ownership Integration. and Competition in the U S Electricity Industry Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996 p 143. PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY 21, Nearly three quarters of all core infrastructure built in the financial investments The U S municipal bond market is. United States is financed with municipal bonds Interest well established with a robust and comprehensive federal. paid on these bonds has been exempt from federal tax legislative and regulatory system that protects investors. since the inception of the federal income tax in 1913 just Likewise municipal bonds are secure investment vehicles. as federal bonds bills and notes are exempt from state and the default rate for investment grade municipal bonds is. local taxes far less than 0 1 percent a fraction of the default rate for. comparably rated corporate bonds, State and local governmental entities including public. power utilities have limited means to raise funds for Today there are 3 7 trillion in municipal bonds. their communities capital needs The municipal bond outstanding with more than 200 billion funding new. market gives towns counties cities and publicly owned projects every year Close to 5 percent of those issuances as. utilities access to investors Municipal bonds are ideally much as 11 billion every year finance new investments in. suited to finance capital intensive and long lived public power generation distribution reliability demand control. infrastructure such as the assets of a public power utility efficiency and emissions control all needed to deliver safe. affordable and reliable electricity, While the median corporate bond issue is 210 million the. vast majority of municipal bonds including those for public In addition to infrastructure for public power utilities these. power investments are far smaller the median municipal bonds finance roads bridges sewers hospitals libraries. bond issuance is 7 million Only about 5 percent of all schools town halls police stations and other public. municipal bond issuances are for 200 million or more purpose investments by state and local governments. The federal tax exclusion of bond interest means municipal. issuers can finance their investments affordably Over. the past 20 years the average yield of Standard Poor s. The city of Vineland New Jersey has, Corporate Bond Aaa Index has been 130 basis points.
operated its own electric generating plant, higher than that of Moody s High Grade Municipal Bond. for more than 100 years Excess power supply, Index Adjusting for the cost of call provisions common in. produced is bid on the market bringing in 167, municipal bonds but rare in corporate taxable bonds the. per megawatt day at auction while the cost has, spread is closer to 180 basis points The difference can save. run about 100 MW day, municipal bond issuers 25 percent over the 30 year life of.
a project These savings result in more critical investments That s the benefit to our customer and it s because. in infrastructure and essential services by state and local we can finance cheaper using instruments available. governments and lower costs for the services they provide to us and we don t have to pay profit to our share. holders At the present time we have the lowest,rates in New Jersey. A safe investment,Joe Isabella director of the electric utility. Investors purchase municipal bonds in part because of tax Vineland New Jersey January 2015. considerations accepting a lower rate of return because. the interest is exempt from federal income tax Municipal. bonds are also valued for their ability to generate a steady. Credit Ratings, stream of revenue for fixed income households Individual. households are the investors in more than 70 percent of The three largest credit rating companies acknowledge the. municipal bonds Nearly 60 percent of this household tax advantages of public power s business model and assign. exempt interest is earned by taxpayers older than 65 years much higher ratings on average to public power than to. In 2012 48 percent of all municipal bond interest paid to investor owned utilities. individuals went to households with incomes of less than. 250 000 17 Public power utilities share several fundamental structural. characteristics that contribute to these higher ratings. Recent market performance and the flight to quality Local autonomous ratemaking authority. underscore that municipal bonds are also valued as stable. Electricity is an essential service, Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income 2010 Individual Income Tax Returns 2012. 22 PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY, Defined service area with near monopolistic cooperatives called preference customers This hydro.
characteristics power is sold at cost The hydroelectric power is produced. at federal dams operated by the U S Army Corps of, Residential and commercial customer base is highly. Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation,concentrated. Public power utilities have a relative cost advantage As one of the few providers of cost based wholesale power. over investor owned utilities the PMAs assist in keeping power rates low for millions of. Local regulation is generally faster and more electricity customers. responsive to changing conditions than the lengthy. process that investor owned utilities experience,Joint Action Agencies. before state commissions, Being small and focused on local customers is one of the. Customers ratepayers are the ultimate stakeholders18. strengths of public power but survival often hinges on. being big Joint action agencies are the convergence of. Fitch Ratings 2016 Outlook for the public power sector. small and big for public power utilities banding utilities. assessed public power s strengths in face of challenges. together to achieve economies of scale, confronting the electric utility industry Municipal.
power utilities are well positioned to cope with, Joint action agencies are typically formed under an act. near term challenges including recently enacted carbon. of the state legislature to provide wholesale power supply. regulations persistent rate pressures and long term. and services to their public power members Like the. threats 19, utilities they serve these agencies are also not for profit. organizations, The rationale behind these municipal Joint action agencies have traditionally served as vehicles. acquisitions includes the economic to consolidate power generation or purchasing rate. benefits available to the acquiring city by negotiation and facilities construction of many smaller. reinvesting free cash flow back into the local utilities into a larger unit thereby leveraging their. system greater local control over rates improved combined size to gain added market advantage This helps. reliability and benefits associated with the use of keep power rates competitive and provide an avenue for. tax exempt debt for future capital improvement offering advanced services through the economies of joint. compared with the existing corporate utilities purchasing. higher cost of capital, Fitch Ratings Public Power Municipalization The beginning of joint action. May 25 2005, Some of the earliest joint action ventures were undertaken.
to battle high wholesale rates In Florida an investor. owned utility was selling bulk power to 10 municipal utility. customers at a higher rate than it did to rural electric. Access to Federal Hydro Power cooperatives ostensibly because the co op loads were. larger When the cities tried to negotiate a better rate the. Hydro power accounts for nearly 7 percent of the, company pursued a divide and conquer strategy trying. nation s electricity supply and is the most abundant. to negotiate separate power sales agreements with each. source of renewable energy Because the fuel water that. of the 10 cities But the cities stood firm as a group and. turns the turbines to make electricity in a hydroelectric. negotiated rates that satisfied all The resultant aggregate. plant is free the cost of operating a hydro power facility. savings of 500 000 for the 10 cities were huge at the time. is low compared to other sources,it was the 1960s,The federal power marketing administrations PMAs. We have learned what can be accomplished through a. sell federally generated hydro power with a statutory. united effort wrote Wallace Sturgis the city attorney for. right of first refusal granted to not for profit entities. Ocala Fla in 1968 But this is just the beginning We. including public power utilities and rural electric. Rating Agency Outlook for Public Power Fitch Ratings webinar March 16 2016. 2016 Outlook U S Public Power and Electric Cooperative Sector Fitch Ratings in a press release December 9 2015. PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY 23, must think big and from such thinking big results will. come Individually municipal utilities are small he said Local Economic. but collectively we are large and growing larger despite. all obstacles 20,Development, Public power utilities are an integral part of the economic. Joint action today development of their communities working closely with. new and existing businesses to provide the highest levels. While power supply and the opportunity to capture the of reliability customer service and development assistance. benefits of economies of scale drove creation of many joint Public power utilities are local and are invested in the. action agencies the agencies have evolved to provide a success of the customers and communities they serve. wide range of shared services to help public power utilities. keep costs down while providing the highest level of service A public power utility spurs development in the local. to their customers economy as a local employer operating in the community. and through the benefits that the utility affords the. Today many joint action agencies plan and implement community In some public power communities the utility. energy efficiency and demand side management programs may also directly support the town s economic development. for their members Some agencies hire circuit riders efforts. individuals who work on site for member utilities one or. two days a week then spend another part of the week at. other member utilities For example WPPI Energy in Sun Hometown Jobs and Business. Prairie Wisconsin hires energy services specialists who Public power utilities benefit their communities by. fulfill this role American Municipal Power in Columbus providing employment opportunities for local residents. Ohio has tree trimming crews that support member needs The local utility is headquartered in town and creates local. The arrangement enables the agency and its members to jobs for customer service representatives lineworkers. recruit and hire highly qualified personnel whom cities engineers mechanics and administrators Kids growing. individually may not be able to afford up in public power communities can find a career right in. their hometown Each dollar of a public power employee s. In places where significant state level regulation of publicly paycheck circulates through the local economy an estimated. owned electric utilities remains in effect joint action four to five times. agencies like Vermont Public Power Supply Authority offer. significant regulatory and legislative services to support More than just being a local employer public power utilities. member utilities also support the local economy as a business operating in. the community Utilities may implement policies to buy. Among other services many agencies support their local and support local businesses whenever practical. members in economic development rate design fuel including purchasing materials and services from local. purchasing training telecommunications lobbying companies and using local financial institutions for their. information technology engineering project management business operations. finance and equipment testing Local public power, utilities pool their resources working together to.
achieve substantial savings for their communities, Joint action agencies allow public power utilities to join. forces to take advantage of economies of scale and shared. services to boost efficiency They are a lifeline for public. power utilities that want to retain the benefits of owning. and operating their own electric utility while not losing. out on the economic advantages of a larger organization. The agencies facilitate the best of both worlds small and. large for their members and their customers,EVERY DOLLAR PAID TO A PUBLIC POWER. The Evolution of Joint Action Public Power January 2014. EMPLOYEE CIRCULATES THROUGH THE,LOCAL ECONOMY 4 TO 5 TIMES. 24 PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY, Supporting the local economy with energy efficiency. Energy efficiency programs help customers save money on their electric bill With rebate programs that. pay customers for investing in energy efficient appliances or for recycling older less efficient models. utility energy efficiency programs go further in putting money back in customers pockets. The public power utility in Waverly Iowa offers just such energy efficiency programs and rebates with a twist. customers who receive energy efficiency rebates for air conditioners heat pumps LED light bulbs and appli. ance recycling are paid in Waverly Dollars gift certificates issued by the Chamber of Commerce that can be. used like cash anywhere in Waverly Citizens can spend their Waverly Dollars when they shop dine out fuel. up or even to pay their utility bill, The energy efficiency programs are good for the local economy said Chris Schmidt former chair of the.
utility s board of trustees The majority of new appliances are purchased and installed by local dealers. Home improvements are also completed mainly through local contractors The money stays in the community. making it a win win situation, Stimulating the Economy Direct financial contributions provide real tangible benefits. to the community helping to pay for police officers and. Public power utilities are good for the local economy. firefighters teachers and schools the municipal library. Lower electricity prices allow consumers to spend more. and parks road repairs and other city services In kind. money on other goods and services in addition to, contributions free or discounted services provided to the. attracting business and industry to the community Local. local government and other operational efficiencies save. dollars stay at home in public power communities They. money for the local government, are not sent to companies and shareholders out of the. city state or in some cases country, The financial contributions made by public power utilities. give the community a choice to collect less in local tax. Investments made in the utility and its infrastructure. revenue to support its services or to increase the number. also support the local economy By meeting the, or improve the quality of services it provides The.
interrelated needs of residential business and, community and local economy benefit either way from. industrial customers a public power utility makes the. more money staying in citizens pockets or from the. community a more pleasant place to live and allows. enhanced municipal services, it to compete more successfully in attracting business. and employment For instance utility investments to. improve power quality and service reliability make the Technological Leadership. community more attractive to businesses that may locate. Many public power utilities have taken a leadership role. or expand there, in preparing their communities for the future by pursuing. new technologies as an integral part of community growth. The contributions utilities make to the local, They serve as information sources in a variety of technology. government whether in the form of payments in lieu. fields such as environmental stewardship high speed. of taxes transfers to the general fund or other in kind. internet capability safety and community technology. contributions to the local government also help the. development, community economically Because public power utilities.
typically make greater financial contributions to the. Some public power communities offer telecommunications. local government than investor owned or cooperative. services because private companies may not offer them to. utilities these benefits may be felt more strongly in a. smaller towns at competitive prices Access to high speed. public power town,broadband encourages economic development. PUBLIC POWER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY 25, Economic Development Programs Many utilities also take advantage of strategic priorities. to promote the community to businesses with similar. Public power utilities are logical partners in economic. interests For example a utility that invests in green energy. development A locally controlled utility is part of a public. technology can make the community more attractive to. service community team that cooperates on public works. businesses that value sustainability, projects downtown renovations extension policies business. development industrial parks and energy efficiency. Working to bring new businesses to the community is. programs The utility has an inherent interest in promoting. only the first step Public power utilities work with their. the well being and prosperity of the community, larger customers offering them power quality demand. response programs alternative pricing structures special. A 2015 survey indicated that the most important thing an. communications during outages and other customer, electric utility can do to attract business to the community.
defined and customer focused programs Businesses enjoy. is offer high reliability and competitive prices 21 While. the streamlined one stop shopping customer service that. public power excels in both these areas many public power. public power towns offer through key accounts and other. utilities go beyond working with city officials to promote. large customer programs,economic development, Greenville North Carolina exemplifies how a public. Tools that may be offered by public power utilities with. power utility can promote economic development for. their communities include, its hometown The Greenville Utilities Commission has. special economic development rates for a robust program to help business customers looking. the first few years of operation to expand and to attract new businesses to Greenville. special connection fees or line extension The utility meets with companies seeking to relocate. rates to make extending electric service to to discuss their power needs reliability power quality. a new business site more affordable for and capacity and offers innovative rate options to help. new businesses startup companies When an existing customer wanted to. add a new warehouse utility engineers showed company. key accounts programs for large commercial personnel how they could meet their electrical needs at. industrial and institutional customers the new warehouse without purchasing expensive new. additional service redundancy to enhance equipment. electric reliability,backup generation,The big reason for doing this is local. discounts and fee waivers,control of our destiny Number 2 we. tax credits abatements keep all of the revenue generated from the. zoning assistance sale of electricity locally and 34 municipalities in. South Dakota can attest to that And No 3 it s,a lot better economic development tool You can.
low or no interest loans offer incentives on electric rates to businesses. With NorthWestern we can t do that, Other economic development initiatives include technical. Ken Cotton City Attorney Wagner S D, consulting infrastructure improvements enterprise zones Wagner voters to decide municipal power. and tax increment finance districts energy efficiency proposal Tuesday Energy Central. programs and account management services Professional December 2 2007. Building Community Economic Development Best Practices Greenville Utilities Commission and. East Carolina University 2016 Data from APPA Economic Development National Survey 2015.


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